Johnson & Johnson Loses $4.69 Billion Lawsuit Linking Baby Powder to Cancer

For decades, Johnson & Johnson has been claiming that their iconic product baby powder, or talcum powder as it is also known, is safe. But that’s not the case, according to a St. Louis jury who decided the fate of a court case in which 22 women suffering from ovarian cancer claimed their illness was caused by use of the company’s powder.

After 8 hours of deliberations, the women won their case against the corporate giant that now has to pay them $4.69 billion. It appears that the jury, through its decision in favor of the women, believes the link between regular talcum powder use and ovarian cancer is strong enough to suggest cause and effect.

Earlier, in a separate court case, a judge ruled against Johnson & Johnson, obligating the company to pay $472 million to a woman who has now died from ovarian cancer. The decision was later reversed.

Research conducted by Harvard University scientists and published in the medical journal Epidemiology, identified a causal link between talc use and ovarian cancer. Earlier research published in the International Journal of Cancer also found an increased rate of ovarian cancer in women who regularly used talc over those who did not.

As early as 2006, the World Health Organization’s scientists classified talcum powder as a class 3 carcinogen, which indicates that there is sufficient evidence to suggest a link between perineal exposure to talcum powder and cancer, but they recommend further research.

Sadly, according to the National Cancer Institute 22,240 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year alone. The same agency estimates that 14,070 women will die from this horrible disease this year. But the news is not all bad: if ovarian cancer is caught while it is in its early stages and localized within the ovaries, the 5-year survival rate is 92.3 percent.

Regardless the possible link between ovarian cancer and talc use remains and is enough of a concern to cause many women to discontinue using the product. But, ovarian cancer is not the only concern from using talc. Other research published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, found a link between talc and mesothelioma, which is an aggressive lung or abdominal cancer sometimes linked to mineral miners. The link could be because some talc is contaminated with asbestos and users may be exposing themselves to asbestos.

Earlier this year, Stephen Lanzo III won a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. He sued the company after his diagnosis of mesothelioma, which he attributed to asbestos in the talc he used. Lanzo won $117 Million when the jury decided that Johnson & Johnson had not provided sufficient warning of the health risks and could have selected safer ingredients than talc for its baby powder but chose not to. During that lawsuit, the company’s internal documents dating back to 1969, under the label “Project 101” revealed that Johnson & Johnson knew that its talc contained asbestos and that it could cause cancer but continued to use it anyway. Project 101 even warned that the company would likely face litigation in 40 years.

Considering the lawsuit losses, the research linking talc use to cancer, and the commonplace use of talcum powder with babies, it seems inappropriate that Johnson & Johnson currently hosts an article on the front page of its website showcasing how the company has purportedly “revolutionized baby care.” At the bottom of the article, the company claims to “put your baby’s safety first.”

And, if that wasn’t enough, the company still had the link “A Message on the Safety of Johnson’s Baby Powder.” Clicking on it brought up the error message: “Oops! We have a boo-boo. Please try JnJ.com later. We’re sure we’ll be feeling better then.” After losing nearly $5 Billion dollars and having its product linked to cancer, I’m not sure Johnson & Johnson is going to be feeling better any time soon.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. 

67 comments

Angela K
Angela K15 days ago

noted

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Leanne K
Leanne K21 days ago

You cant say talcum powder caused mesothelioma. The asbestos did.
I dont think the link to cancer is strong enough for these suits to have won but win they did

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson22 days ago

Thank you!

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Nita L
Nita L25 days ago

shared~thank you

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michela c
michela c25 days ago

That's incredible! Who can we trust?

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Leo C
Leo C25 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Janis K
Janis K25 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Laura H
Laura H25 days ago

Scary...who knows what is safe and what isn't?!
Life is a crap shoot...

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Lesa D
Lesa D26 days ago

thank you Michelle...

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Carole R
Carole R26 days ago

I know this is what caused my mother's ovarian cancer many years ago but have no way to prove it. It's a disgrace.

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